1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers conspire together against the Lord and his Anointed One: 3 “Let’s tear off their chains and throw their ropes off of us.” 4 The one enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord ridicules them. Psalm 2:1-4
If you found yourself laughing out loud at the story of Balak and Balaam, that’s okay. I actually think it is supposed to be read as comedy. After all, the whole thing started with a talking donkey. So if you get the joke, then know that the God of the Universe is laughing along with you! Psalm 2 describes God (the one enthroned in the heavens) laughing at the schemes of men against His anointed.
I am beginning to think God allows Balaam to go with Balak just so He can mess with Balak. Picture the scene: by the end of the day, Balak, along with all his princes, has followed Balaam to the top of three different mountains. How many steps was that on his Fitbit?
Balak builds twenty-one altars to the God of his enemy. Don’t you just love how God gets glory and honor for Himself from the one that’s trying to curse His people? Balak sacrifices a pasture full of cattle and an entire flock of sheep. And what does he get in return? Three blessings on Israel, each longer and more elaborate than the last.
And then Balaam throws in a bonus blessing, in which he not only curses a bunch of other enemies of Israel (Edom, Amalek, etc.), but in Numbers 24:17, he prophesies the ultimate defeat of all God’s enemies with the coming Messiah:
“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab.”
His language reminds us of the first prophecy in Genesis 3:15, when God promised that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. The day is coming, and the laughter of God will shake the throne room of Heaven.
And God lets us in on the joke.